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Introduction to Forensic Psychology 

Nature and Nurture both play an essential role in the lives of an individual that define their human behaviour and developmental features (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Fox, 2017). Nature is referred to the hereditary and genes factors of an individual based on physical appearances such as skin colour, hair colour and eye clear. These factors define the personality characteristics of an individual (Newsome & Cullen, 2017). Whereas Nurture is referred to as the environmental variables that represent the influence of the culture, early childhood experiences, social relationships and how an individual is raised. Each aspect has its influence over the mental development of an individual. Behaviour and personality contribute to the actions of a person and their role in the individual's life. Researchers have identified the contribution of nature and nurture in one's life and their impact on human behaviour (Sampson & Laub, 2017). Ongoing arguments present the environmental impact and the role of genetics over human behaviour. Through the debate, different arguments can be presented to indicate the likelihood of future offending. This essay is based on the psychological arguments related to Nature vs Nurture that leads to impact the criminal behaviour of an individual.

Different debates represent the role of life experiences and inherited traits to shape an individual's personality. Whether the environmental factors or genetic factors have a greater influence on the personality and behaviour of a person? The key centre of nature and nurture relies on genetic inheritance and environmental factors (Kelly, 2019).

The social environment of an individual shape the mindset of the individual that leads towards deviant behaviour. The key concept of the social environment can be understood with the social relationships, physical surroundings and cultural milieus that promotes human interaction and behaviour in the community. The social cognitive theory given by Albert Bandura signifies the role of social environment on the behaviour of children and their actions (Bonta & Andrews, 2016; Sampson & Laub, 2017). Behaviour and personality of an individual is a reflection of their childhood experiences and their learnings from the environment. Social factors influence future offending. Peer association and other social factors represent the commission of criminal behaviour. The social learning theory encompasses that; people learn from their environment or surroundings. It leaves a huge impact on the mental development of a human. If the environment is based on criminal acts, the likelihood of future offending increases. It can be noticed that children with criminal parents represent a high chance of offending by 240% as compared to other children. Although some other factors such as family size and poverty also lead to a higher rate of offending by 180%. The crime committed by an individual is based on circumstances and surroundings that directly or indirectly leads to violence, felony or crime (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Fox, 2017).

Most critical factors that influence the offenders are based on need, risk and responsivity. It can be explained through the theory of Andrews and Bonta regarding the psychology of criminal conduct (Bonta & Andrews, 2016; Kelly, 2019). The psychology of criminal conduct (PCC) focuses on a comprehensive approach to defining antisocial behaviour based on individual differences. Three key principles are identified to systematically evaluate the criminal’s psychology. Risk assessments represent the dynamic and static risks wherein the offender can be exposed. Dynamic risks are based on antisocial attitude and considered as malleable while static risks are some factors which cannot be changed such as criminal history. The responsivity principle is based on the cognitive behaviour of an individual which is essential to analyze the individual differences based on their motivation and criminogenic needs (Bonta & Andrews, 2016; Sampson & Laub, 2017).

Scholarly articles represent the role of genetic factors in defining antisocial behaviour that contributes to future offending. Based on the study, genetic factors influence the traits pf an individual which are based on two approaches. Behavioural genetics is the first approach that estimates the environmental sources and magnitude of genetic with a variance of phenotype. With the observation of twins, siblings or adoptees a degree of genetic relatedness can be identified. Most of the antisocial behaviour is based on heritable factors and some on the environmental influences (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Fox, 2017). The different number of problems based on troublesome behaviour shows the factors from genes. A relationship between behavioural problems and risk factors can be highlighted with the shared role of environmental and genetic origins that represents the risk-based outcomes. Molecular genetics is another approach of genetic factors study which represents the development of antisocial behaviour among individuals with a role of genes. It specifies the role of genes in shaping the behaviour of a human being. The collection of DNA samples investigates the antisocial behaviour associated with an individual. Different genes based on the antisocial behaviour of an individual are 5-HTT, COMT, DRD4, DRD2, DRD1, DATI and MAOA (Murphy, Bradford & Jackson, 2016).

It can be noted that the genotype of an individual is not completely expressed as the reason behind a particular phenotype. Negative life events and risky genotype both are necessary to define the exposure of an individual towards criminal offence. Differential susceptibility theory proposes that particular genotypes work with the increased vulnerability wherein some genotypes possess a higher degree of plasticity (malleability) that works in a supportive environment. This theory specifies that the individuals who are not inherited with the genes based on criminal activity show a lower influence of the environment. Positive and negative experiences of the environment support the differential susceptibility theory (Hasisi, Carmel, Weisburd & Wolfowicz, 2019).

A link between environment and genes can be identified with the mediated biological factors that influence the humane behaviour particularly based on brain functioning and structural development. With the advanced technological system, the reasons behind the antisocial behaviour of an individual are derived through neuropsychological and neurological foundations. It reflects several abnormalities in the structure such as shape, density and size of regions, connectivity with the functional circuits and captivation in regions and function based on the activation of the interest of regions. Specific genotypes impact the antisocial individuals and the structure presented in their brains (Bonta & Andrews, 2016; Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Sampson & Laub, 2017).

Biosocial research emphasizes on the relationship between criminal behaviour, sociological factors and biological factors. It focuses on the key factors that play an essential role in producing criminal behaviour such as environmental toxins, psychophysiology, neurological deficits, neurotransmitters, hormones and genetics (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Fox, 2017). The greatest amount of studies in this area are based on biosocial criminologists with three key components which are non-shared environment, heritability and shared environment. Heritability is a phenotype which represents the attributed to genetic factors. Rest of the variance is based on the shared environment based on the socioeconomic status of the family. However, the settings which are not shared by the siblings are considered as non-shared environment such as peer group. The results of the behavioural geneticists represent the variation of 60% in criminal behaviour and antisocial behaviour is occurred because of heritable settings. Whereas shared and non-shared environment shoe a variance of 10% and 50% respectively for the antisocial and criminal behaviour of individuals (Fox, 2017). It specifies that the concept of heritability is not enough to represent the behaviour of individuals, the interaction of genes with specific environmental and social factors also play an essential role in producing criminal behaviour. It raises the risk of increased future violent. As per the study conducted among individuals, the youth with a history of abuse in the risk factors of environment and low levels of MAOA were responsible for the violent crime for around 44%. Besides, 85% of youth with environmental risk factors and genetic factors shows antisocial behaviour (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Fox, 2017).

A direct or indirect impact of distinguished chemicals and toxins is also seen as an influential factor for criminal and antisocial behaviour. Adolescent delinquency, high level of psychopathy and violent crime are linked with the instances related to aggressive behaviour. A probability of 50% is increased with the influence of toxic substances (Ladlow & Neale, 2016). It has been identified that smoking during the time of pregnancy leads to higher chances of criminal and aggressive behaviour. Prenatal exposure to alcohol impacts the individuals with poor emotional, social and moral development which leads to hyperactivity, impulsivity and low IQ that in turn connects with criminal behaviour gradually. Whereas it is clearly stated through distinguished studies, that biological factors are not individually responsible for the criminal activities. A combination of social and biological factors indicates criminal behaviour among individuals which means "even the strongest biological influences still need an environment in which to be expressed" (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015).

Social Learning Theory (SLT) represents the development of conforming and deviant behaviour with the learning process of an individual. It is popular as an integrated theory that influences the direction to meet the key aspects behind the individual’s behaviour (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015; Fox, 2017). SLT theory is a combination of psychological elements (such as observational learning and operant conditioning) and differential association theory. It explains the influence of environment for shaping individuals’ deviant and criminal behaviour. Differential association is the first concept identified with SLT that defines the engagement of an individual with values, norms and attitudes that support a certain behaviour (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015). It shows the associated behaviour of an individual for crime is most replicated with criminal peers. The second concept of SLT shows a learned behaviour to qualify for moral or immoral activities based on the socialization or interactional process. Illegal drug use and stealing are based on social interaction. The third principle associated with SLT is differential reinforcement which represents the anticipated punishments or rewards for committing certain behaviour. Symbolic reinforcement, intangible reinforcement or self-reinforcement confine the deviant and criminal behaviour with a high level of motivation. The last concept of the principle of SLT is imitation which works through the observation of similar behaviour and admiring others. It is known as observational learning that leads to criminal behaviour development (Wikström & Treiber, 2017).

Integration of genetic and social factors influence an individual towards criminal behaviour. Active gene-environment correlation defines the future behaviour of a person based on the adapted morals and values which are compatible with criminal behaviour. Genetic influence leads to a pre-disposition of the criminal behaviour however, environmental motivation approaches an individual to show deviant and criminal behaviour. Deviant peer group selection is a key part of the aggressive or violent behaviour which persists criminal behaviour (Feldstein Ewing, et al., 2015).

It can be concluded that nature and nurture both play a major role in the likelihood of future offending. Biological influence is a key reason for criminality that work in the social interactional factors. Biology and social context are not separate entities without any impact over each other. Current theories in criminology explain the concerned behavioural reasons to predict criminal behaviour based on certain activities. Genetic influence, observational behaviour and imitation lead to future criminal behaviour. It can be said that biological factors are not individually responsible for criminal activities. Biosocial research emphasizes on the relationship between criminal behaviour, sociological factors and biological factors. Heritability is a phenotype which represents the attributed to genetic factors. The social environment of an individual shape the mindset of the individual that leads towards deviant behaviour. The social learning theory encompasses that; people learn from their environment or surroundings. It leaves a huge impact on the mental development of a human. Through the understanding of biosocial factors and SLT, a significant explanation can be generated that represents the responsible factors for future offending. Thus, it can be said that nature and nurture both are responsible for the deviant and criminal behaviour of an individual.

References for The Likelihood of Future Offending

Bonta, J., & Andrews, D. A. (2016). The psychology of criminal conduct. US: Taylor & Francis.

Feldstein Ewing, S. W., Filbey, F. M., Loughran, T. A., Chassin, L., & Piquero, A. R. (2015). Which matters most? Demographic, neuropsychological, personality, and situational factors in long-term marijuana and alcohol trajectories for justice-involved male youth. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors29(3), 603.

Fox, B. (2017). It's nature and nurture: Integrating biology and genetics into the social learning theory of criminal behaviour. Journal of Criminal Justice49, 22-31.

Hasisi, B., Carmel, T., Weisburd, D., & Wolfowicz, M. (2019). Crime and terror: examining criminal risk factors for terrorist recidivism. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 1-24.

Kelly, W. R. (2019). The future of crime and punishment: Smart policies for reducing crime and saving money. UK: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ladlow, L., & Neale, B. (2016). Risk, resource, redemption? The parenting and custodial experiences of young offender fathers. Social Policy and Society15(1), 113-127.

Murphy, K., Bradford, B., & Jackson, J. (2016). Motivating compliance behaviour among offenders: Procedural justice or deterrence?. Criminal Justice and Behavior43(1), 102-118.

Newsome, J., & Cullen, F. T. (2017). The risk-need-responsivity model revisited: Using biosocial criminology to enhance offender rehabilitation. Criminal Justice and Behavior44(8), 1030-1049.

Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (2017). A general age-graded theory of crime: Lessons learned and the future of life-course criminology. In Integrated developmental and life-course theories of offending. New York: Routledge.

Wikström, P. O. H., & Treiber, K. (2017). Beyond risk factors: An analytical approach to crime prevention. In Preventing crime and violence. New York: Springer, Cham.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Psychology Assignment Help

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